Dr Michael Chilvers, the medical director for East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, reflects on Herts Pride 2021 and inclusivity in the NHS.
On Saturday Herts Pride took place in Watford – a celebration of the county’s LGBTQ+ community which saw people of all races, faiths, abilities, sexualities and genders attend.
Staff from our Trust – which includes Hertford County Hospital, the Lister in Stevenage, the New QEII in Welwyn Garden City, and Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood – were among those to join in with the celebrations, as well as host an information stall.
As the lead board member for reduction of health inequality at the Trust, it was a privilege to join them.
What struck me most on the day was the number of teenagers and young people who were there, and the positivity and happiness on display. The event felt extra special, too, after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
As we open up after lockdown, and learn how to be with each other again, it’s even more important that we recognise the beauty in the huge diversity of our communities.
In the NHS one of our core values is that we treat people with respect and dignity, including both our patients and staff.
I knowthat coming into hospital can be a stressful time, and it’s important that you feel safe. Please know that you will be treated by people who will not discriminate against you – and will listen to any specific needs you have. If any LGBTQ+ people are feeling anxious or unsure whilst in our care, please speak to a member of staff with a rainbow lanyard – these people are particular allies of the LGBTQ+ community. And we continue to raise awareness of issues such as the correct use of pronouns. We won’t always get it right, but we will keep trying – and please do let us know if you think we can improve in any areas.
As one of the biggest employers in the county, I also know that allowing our staff to be themselves at work means better care for our patients. We foster an inclusive culture in our Trust, with a zero-tolerance approach to abuse, and we have a lively LGBTQ+ network which raises awareness of issues, and provides advice and support to all staff members.
It was great to continue that conversation on Saturday – please do tell us how we can continue to make things better for our LGBTQ+ patients and staff.